Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bosco the Zanesville Police Canine Officer Update!

Bosco the Zanesville Police Canine Officer Updates! Latest Update: February 3, 2010

Bosco Brief (update on Bosco, the Dutch Shepherd Zanesville, Ohio, Canine Officer)

(Note: Bosco, a Dutch Shepherd Canine Officer in Zanesville, Ohio, was shot on Sunday, August 23, 2009, when Officer Mike Schiele attempted to arrest a Zanesville man on a misdemeanor warrant. Officer Schiele was shot in the leg and was treated and released from Grant Hospital. Bosco was shot through the neck and suffered multiple injuries, one of which caused temporary paralysis, which affected his front end most. This great dog and his owner are now recovered. Visit http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/5971.htm to read all 15 updates and see other photos and videos. Keep your Kleenex handy; this is a story with courage in spades!)

February 3, 2010

Photo of Bosco taken on November 5, 2009:


Since the holidays, Bosco has been coming in approximately twice a week to the Veterinary Hospital for standard rehabilitation therapy.

He walks on the water treadmill and performs other exercises to reinforce his balance and coordination and to strengthen his right leg, which is still experiencing some weakness.
Overall, he is doing great, and he has a tremendous amount of energy that is evident as he pulls vigorously on his leash upon entering our doors.

Everyone is extremely pleased with how far he has come since his injury last year.


The Zanesville K-9 Unit is paid for entirely by donations. People wishing to contribute to Bosco's care can send donations to the Zanesville Police Department, K-9 Unit, 332 South Street, Zanesville, OH 43701.

October 13, 2009: As seen in this video http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/5577.htm Bosco walks comfortably on the underwater treadmill as part of his physical therapy. As opposed to a "dry" or "land" treadmill, the water in the treadmill tank, a soothing 94 degrees, supports his entire weight; thus it is less stressful on his joints. The only challenge is that Bosco likes drinking the water as he walks! After the walking exercise is over, we turn on the water jets so he receives an invigorating massage.

September 24, 2009 - We are happy to report that Bosco can get up and stand on his own. He is also walking short distances with no assistance. As seen in this video
http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/2862.htm [Note: I've had trouble loading this 9-second video, so it may be that too many people are trying to view it.] he continues with his daily therapy which includes walking around cones and other obstacles, although sometimes he tries to cheat! After these exercises, he takes a well-deserved nap. http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/5971.htm

September 18, 2009 - Bosco went home to Zanesville Thursday night for a fundraiser, and stayed the entire weekend with his family, which he truly enjoyed!

He is back in the hospital this week [September 21-25] to continue with daily therapy, but will be allowed to go home on weekends.

The main focus of his therapy is working on his balance.

Although his front legs buckle now and then, he is making progress walking on a leash and harness. http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/5971.htm

Brave Dog Diaries: Police Dog Bosco & human partner recovering

August 29, 2009


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cats becoming prey to coyotes

Cats becoming prey to coyotes

'“We try to encourage people to keep their cats inside,” says Dennis Tabella of Defenders of Animals, an animal advocacy group. “Too many people are letting their cats out at night. Some people just don’t get it.” ... Lund says studies show that indoor cats live an average of 17 years or so, while outdoor cats average just 3 to 4 years. Outdoor cats may also be harmed by dogs, cars, people and other cats, she said.'

September 8, 2009

By Peter B. Lord, Journal Environment Writer
plord@projo.com or 401-277-8036

The Providence Journal

75 Fountain Street

Providence Rhode Island 02902


Fax: Please do not fax letters.

http://www.projo.com and http://www.projo.com/aboutus/contact.htm

To submit a Letter to the Editor:
letters@projo.com (250-word limit)

This summer, posters for missing cats have become nearly as common in some suburban neighborhoods as “For Sale” signs in front of houses.

Despite the news reports for several years now that coyotes -- and more recently, fisher cats -- have become commonplace in Rhode Island, people continue to let their cats out at night and wonder why they don’t return in the morning.

“We try to encourage people to keep their cats inside,” says Dennis Tabella of Defenders of Animals, an animal advocacy group. “Too many people are letting their cats out at night. Some people just don’t get it.”

Cathy Lund, owner of City Kitty Veterinary Care, a cat-only veterinary office, says she strongly encourages her pet owners to keep their cats inside. She estimates about 90 percent do.

She can recall only one cat in her practice surviving a coyote attack. “The mortality rate is pretty high,” she said. “Most cats are domesticated, overweight and a little sedentary.”

Charlie Brown, a wildlife biologist at the state Department of Environmental Management, says he fields several hundred calls annually from people who are concerned about coyotes, and often their concerns begin with their pets.

He tries to make it clear: coyotes are now in every community in Rhode Island, except for Block Island.

“The average adult coyote is 35 to 40 pounds. The cat is a perfect size for them to go after. If coyotes get ahold of cats, they are gone.”

The experts who work at the intersection of the cat-coyote interactions insist the problem has been commonplace for several years, but many people just don’t want to accept the facts, or feel they can’t control their cats. The result is that cats continue to disappear at a fairly consistent rate. This is the most active period for coyotes because many are feeding young that were born in the spring.

Brown says coyotes began showing up in New England in the 1930s as forests reclaimed abandoned farmland. Rhode Island was the last state in New England to confirm their presence in 1969. (Apparently, coyotes were never part of the New England fauna because wolves kept them away before Europeans arrived and killed the wolves.)

“For ten years, they were sparse,” Brown said. “Now they are ubiquitous.”

Coyotes make their homes in cemeteries, river corridors, parks and small patches of woods. They gather to sleep and venture out alone at dawn or dusk to hunt. The biggest part of their diets is small mammals such as mice and squirrels. But they’ll also eat berries, trash, roadkill, compost, pet food and pets.

“They are pretty resourceful,” says Brown. “That’s the reason for their success.”

Fisher cats, small, bulky predators that are bigger than minks and smaller than river otters, returned to Rhode Island a few years ago, and they take some cats, too, Brown said. Fishers are native to New England and were extirpated by European hunters. But more often than not, he said, if a cat is missing, it’s because of coyotes.

When people call with concerns about coyotes, Brown advises them that 9 times out of 10, they can keep coyotes away by eliminating possible food sources such as trash, pet foods left outdoors — and pets left outdoors.

Several years ago, Warwick residents became alarmed about frequent sightings of coyotes in Warwick Neck. Brown, an adviser to the city, recalls the problem boiled down to people putting food out for the coyotes.

After that stopped, he said, “Miraculously, the coyotes disappeared.”

A special Coyote Commission in Warwick concluded in 2005 that the best way to manage coyotes was not to shoot or trap them. It was to educate the public about their behavior and feeding patterns so that people would stop leaving food out for them.

In Newport, Brown said, two coyotes became a nuisance after the coyotes became acclimated to the handouts. They wouldn’t go away, so they were euthanized.

Three years ago, the DEM established a coyote management policy that allows people to hunt coyotes at any time of year. But it also concluded that public education was the best solution for “negative interactions between coyotes and humans.”

There is a regulated trapping season for fishers, too, and property owners may shoot them if they threaten livestock, pets or crops. The carcass must be turned over to the DEM. There have been no recent complaints about fishers, according to the DEM.

Lund says studies show that indoor cats live an average of 17 years or so, while outdoor cats average just 3 to 4 years. Outdoor cats may also be harmed by dogs, cars, people and other cats, she said.

It may take a month to convert an outdoor cat to living indoors, she said. The key is to never give in. And, try starting in the winter when cats are less eager to go outside.

Tabella, of Defenders of Animals, recalls a cat in his neighborhood that was out all the time. A neighbor took it in and kept it in.

“He’s adjusted very well,” said Tabella. “But it takes some time.”

For more information on coyotes go to:


For state coyote management policies, go to:


People with concerns about coyotes are encouraged to call the DEM at 401-789-0281.

Related Links:

Your Turn: Despite the warnings of coyotes in neighborhoods, do you still let your pet out at night?


Copyright 2009, The Providence Journal.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What is Animal Hoarding?

What is animal hoarding?

The following criteria are used to define animal hoarding:

More than the typical number of companion animals.

Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death.

Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling.

For more information:

The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium:


Dogs get care: Psychologist says Newport case could be a matter of animal hoarding

Dogs get care: Psychologist says Newport case could be a matter of animal hoarding

(Note: Many thanks to SS for the information on these two articles.)

September 15, 2009

By Evan Bevins,
ebevins@mariettatimes.com or 740-376-5447

The Marietta Times

P.O. Box 635

Marietta, Ohio 45750


Fax: 740-376-5475

http://www.mariettatimes.com or http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/category.detail/nav/5046/Employee_directory.html

To submit a Letter to the Editor:
letters@mariettatimes.com or http://vnr.oweb.net/vnr/add_submission.asp?categoryID=657&publicationID=84 (website form)

Fact Box

What is animal hoarding?

The following criteria are used to define animal hoarding:

More than the typical number of companion animals.

Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care, with this neglect often resulting in starvation, illness and death.

Denial of the inability to provide this minimum care and the impact of that failure on the animals, the household and human occupants of the dwelling.

For more information: The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium:



The recent case of alleged animal cruelty in Newport has many of the characteristics of animal hoarding, according to a national expert on the subject.

"Although it may seem unusual in the community, it's the kind of story we see pretty regularly" at the national level, said Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president for Anti-Cruelty Field Services with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Lockwood, a psychologist based with the ASPCA in Washington, D.C., is not involved in the local situation, but discussed animal hoarding cases in general.

"Several of these cases a day come across my desk," he said. "We estimate there probably are at least 5,000 new cases of this each year in the country."

An animal hoarder is someone who accumulates more animals than they can care for while remaining oblivious to the condition of the animals and the negative impact on the quality of life for the human beings involved, Lockwood said. It is not unusual for a hoarder's house to have animal feces in the eating or sleeping areas, he said.

"It is not just kind people who get in over their heads, which is often how this is characterized," Lockwood said.

Animal hoarders may hoard other things as well, and the condition can be linked to additional psychological disorders, Lockwood said. As in the Washington County case, there can be issues for Children or Adult Protective Services if the hoarder has children or a dependent adult living with them, he said.

Local humane officer Butch Morris said hoarding cases aren't frequent in Washington County, but authorities have seen their share of them. There are a couple of situations Morris said he is watching to make sure the individuals don't take in more animals and become a problem.

"If you go over seven or eight dogs, then I'm going to be looking hard," he said.

However, Morris noted there is no law in Ohio limiting the number of animals an individual can own. His office's concern is that the animals are properly cared for and licensed.

Lockwood said hoarders usually cannot be dealt with just by taking the animals away.

"Virtually all of them will begin again without close supervision," he said.

Lockwood said he does not necessarily advocate jail for hoarders but thinks probation conditions prohibiting them from owning more animals should be in place.

Copyright 2009, The Marietta Times.


Related reading:

Dogs get care: Newport man accused of animal cruelty - Humane Society helps animals found in squalor

September 15, 2009

By Evan Bevins,
ebevins@mariettatimes.com or 740-376-5447

The Marietta Times

P.O. Box 635

Marietta, Ohio 45750


Fax: 740-376-5475

http://www.mariettatimes.com or http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/category.detail/nav/5046/Employee_directory.html

To submit a Letter to the Editor:
letters@mariettatimes.com or http://vnr.oweb.net/vnr/add_submission.asp?categoryID=657&publicationID=84 (website form)

Five charges of animal cruelty have been filed against a Newport man accused of keeping more than 50 animals -- and his mother -- in filthy, unsanitary conditions.

Washington County Dog Warden Greg Sturm said five second-degree misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals were filed in Marietta Municipal Court Monday against Steven Sharp, 52, of 1815 Long Run Road, Newport. More charges are possible, Sturm said.

A week ago, Sturm, sheriff's deputies and humane officers found Sharp's 80-year-old mother, Dorothy Sharp, living in the Long Run Road house, where the floors and other surfaces were covered with nearly an inch of cat feces and urine. Lightheaded and disoriented, Dorothy Sharp was hospitalized and placed in the custody of Adult Protective Services.

More than a dozen cats were found in the house, and numerous others were located in a trailer on the property. Twenty-two dogs were taken from the property and placed in the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley's shelter.

Officials said the cats were euthanized because they had leukemia, which is contagious among felines. Other cats, that were not closed up, are still roaming the property, said Butch Morris, humane officer.

"There's probably still another 30 cats out there," he said.

Two more dogs that had been running loose were brought to the shelter by Sharp's brother, Craig, who owns the property. At least three more dogs there have not been caught yet, Morris said.

Most of the dogs taken by the Humane Society, however, were tied up, with no food or water available, authorities said.

Steven Sharp was previously charged with failure to care for an impaired individual, a misdemeanor.

There are no plans to charge Craig Sharp, Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said Monday, because his brother lived at the residence at least part of the time and was the one responsible for Dorothy Sharp.

Craig Sharp has been cooperating with humane officers, Morris said.

Shelter manager Steve Herron said that when the dogs first arrived, they had to be housed in a garage due to crowded conditions at the shelter. However, a rescue operation took 22 other dogs from the shelter recently, and most of the dogs from the Newport property had been moved into regular cages in the shelter as of Monday.

"They've all been able to get cleaned up and taken care of," Herron said.

Most of the animals have overcome their initial fear and are warming up to shelter workers and volunteers, Herron said, but some are still "skittish."

People in the community donated puppy food, laundry detergent, bleach and blankets after the shelter took the dogs in, Herron said. The shelter will always accept more dog food and detergent (not to mention cat food and litter), he said.

"We appreciate what the public is doing for us," Herron said.

There are other ways people can get involved, the shelter manager said.

"I always look for volunteers in the afternoon to come and walk dogs," he said.

Copyright 2009, The Marietta Times.


(ESA / Animal Law) NY University Law School Student Wins Committee on Animals & the Law's Student Writing Competition

New York University Law School Student Wins Committee on Animals and the Law's Student Writing Competition

"The Committee on Animals and the Law
http://nysbar.com/blogs/animalaw/ was established to provide an information resource for the Association's members and the public about non-human, animal-related humane issues which arise from and have an effect upon our legal system."

September 15, 2009

News from the New York State Bar Association

For more information contact: Brandon J. Vogel, Media Writer
bvogel@nysba.org or 518-487-5535

ReadMedia, Inc.

Albany, New York - The New York State Bar Association's Committee on Animals and the Law has awarded New York University Law School Student Allison L. Westfahl Kong with the first-place award in its second annual Student Writing Competition for her submission entitled "Improving the Protection of Species Endangered in the United States by Means of a Revision of the Distinct Population Segment (DPS) Policy."

Kong's paper explores whether the DPS, a portion of a species' or subspecies' population or range, should be revised to permit the listings of species that are solely endangered within the United States, and whether such a change is consistent with the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Kong received $1,000 for her winning submission.

The Committee awarded its second-place award to Andra Waniek, a recent graduate of Brooklyn Law School. Her paper, "Protecting Woman's Best Friend from Family Violence: Proposal for a Model Statute Including Animals in Protective Orders," discusses and reviews proposed and enacted legislation concerning inclusion of animals in protective orders. Waniek proposes a federal statute authorizing the inclusion of animals in protective orders that combines and modifies components of several proposed and enacted state statutes and adds a new provision to account for the housing of animals during their owners' stay at domestic violence shelters.

Waniek received $500 for her essay.

"As the number of entries increased this year, so did the quality of the competitors' essays. Ms. Kong and Ms. Waniek each exhibited an extraordinary command of the topics through the use of excellent technical writing and sound legal analysis," said Committee Chair James F. Gesualdi of Islip. "We are so pleased to see law students taking an active interest in animal law and recognizing it as a potential practice area. I congratulate both Ms. Kong and Ms. Waniek on winning this year's Student Writing Competition."

"Animal-related law encompasses a range of important, high-profile, and evolving topics," said Jessica Sonenshein, chair of the Student Writing Sub-Committee. "We are happy that we had so many high-quality submissions addressing these areas, and were extremely impressed with the level of thinking and analysis that went into each of them."

The Committee on Animals and the Law was established to provide an information resource for the Association's members and the public about non-human, animal-related humane issues which arise from, and have an effect upon, our legal system. The competition was intended to foster legal scholarship among law students in the area of animals and the law. In addition, the competition provides law students with an opportunity to prepare and submit articles to the committee for possible publication in one of the New York State Bar Association's newsletters.

The 76,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.

Copyright 2009, ReadMedia, Inc.


Original New York State Bar Association News website address / URL:


Additional researched, related, recommended reading/information:

Committee on Animals and the Law: Sponsored by the Commitee on Animals and the Law of the New York State Bar Association

"The opinions expressed and statements made by the bloggers are those of the blogger alone and do not reflect the opinions of the NYSBA, its sections, committees, special committees or subcommittees or any employee or other member thereof. The NYSBA and all other entities mentioned above are not responsible for the accuracy of any information supplied by the bloggers, and the Committee on Animals and the Law retains the absolute right to edit or remove any blog entries that are deemed to be inappropriate."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Homemade Cat Repellent / Dog Repellent

Homemade Cat Repellent / Dog Repellent

Saw a recipe in newspaper. Vinegar, liquid soap and water. Equal parts. Spray on lawn. Recipe said use Dawn soap, but any seems to work.

Urine or ammonia not good, will have cats return.

In some climates citrate solutions (orange or lemon) attract bees. I've been trying the vinegar mix and getting good results no cats, or dogs. (10/01/2007) By D. H. B.

Other options

Other posted solutions include planting rosemary where you don't want cats, or using various citrus scrapings (lemons, oranges, etc.) mixed in a spray bottle with water and used on areas where cats / dogs are not encouraged. Citronella was also mentioned. None of these repellent formulas have been tested (yet!) by yours truly, so try on your own.

Internet Source: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf78664537.tip.html

Skunk Smell Neutralizer, thanks to Paul Krebaum

Yet Another Way to De-Skunk Your Pet, or, Skunk Smell Neutralizer, thanks to Paul Krebaum

By Stacy E. Smith, Paw Prints

The weather finally warmed up (thank goodness) and you and your pets are spending more and more time outdoors – at parks, on hikes and even camping. So, the odds of Fido getting into something smelly begin to increase exponentially.

Arguably, the smelliest thing anyone can encounter has got to be skunk spray. All of us have detected the distinct odor while driving on the highway or even wafting through the neighborhood at one time or another. There is no mistaking it. How many of you have actually had the pleasure of coming into contact with that smell only moments after it was sprayed – up close and personal? I am here to tell you that the odor you detect from the car is NOTHING compared to the freshly sprayed version. It is an assault on your olfactory system that really puts your gag reflex to the test.

Now, imagine that your dog comes happily bounding toward you smelling like he just tested every bottle of “eau de skunk” in the department store. It may very well officially be the single worst, gross thing that happens to you.

One of our regular writing contributors, Stu Tarlowe, published his favorite cure for eau de skunk several years ago in the pages of PAW PRINTS. Although it was a great remedy, it was not Stu’s own creation, but a cleanser he found that worked wonders for removing that very special odor.

You’d think, however, that if you had actually created, the hands-down, bar-none best way for dealing with a pet who has been skunked, you’d be able to sell your formula for a tidy sum and be set for life, right?

Wrong. At least, that’s not the way it worked for chemist Paul Krebaum, who created just such a magic formula in the 1990s — and hasn’t gained a single thing for his trouble except the gratitude of pet lovers everywhere.

First, I’ll give you the recipe…

1. In a plastic bucket using plastic utensils mix together 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (This is available from any drugstore. DO NOT USE ANY OTHER STRENGTH even if you happen to have it around the house for some reason – the result may be a trip to the emergency room), 1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate for you science types which is not the same as baking powder) and 1- 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. Notes: Krebaum suggests “Softsoap” or “Ivory Liquid” because they are less inert. Grease-cutting brands such as “Dawn” are less inert and hair shampoo is probably the worst. For very large pets you may add one quart of tepid tap water to enable complete coverage. The reason for using plastic containers and utensils is because metals will encourage auto-decomposition of the peroxide.

2. Immediately apply it to the stinky pet (the solution will get weaker with time and you’ll definitely want it to be at full strength). Wash thoroughly, working solution deep into the fur. Leave solution on for about 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. Let your nose guide you. Some heavily oiled or “skunked” areas may require repeat washing. Note: skunks usually aim for the face, but try to keep the solution out of your pet’s eyes – it stings! If you have any cuts on your hands you should consider wearing latex gloves for the same reason.

3. Rinse your pet thoroughly with tepid tap water.

4. Pour the any left over solution down the drain with running water.

The result is by all accounts astonishing! Unfortunately, so will the explosion if you make up the solution and then try to bottle it. In case that was confusing it means DO NOT BOTTLE IT (or put it into any other closed container) to save for another time!!!! This is an actual, real life warning. The merging of the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda creates lots of oxygen in a big hurry. This chemical reaction is actually the key to how the solution works, but it’s also fierce enough to [forcibly/violently escape] a closed container. Unfortunately, this is also the reason Krebaum hasn’t been able to capitalize on his discovery. There’s just no way to sell something you can’t put in a bottle.

And it’s a shame, too, because from what I hear the man deserves some kind of reward or at least an award. According to plenty of testimonials, the stuff really works.

Unlike tomato juice, which merely turns the odor down a notch but ultimately leaves you with a slightly less-stinky -- and often pink -- dog.

Commercial preparations can be bought at most pet supply stores and seem to fare a little better, but even when you use them it’s the passing of time as the smell gradually wears off that seems to finally do the trick.

With Krebaum’s mixture, the trick is the oxygen, which grabs the molecules that go into that horrid smell. Once those molecules are snagged, the smell is neutralized. Poof! It’s simple chemistry, really.

Since Krebaum’s findings were published in a trade journal in the early 1990’s (if anyone is interested it was the Chemical & Engineering News, K.M. Reese published it in the “Newscripts” section on Oct. 18, 1993), his magic formula has spread far and wide, offered up by agriculture officials and hunting magazines, and touted by folks on the Internet (which is where I found it). The Chicago Tribune even gave him a nice write-up in 1994 that got picked up by newspapers all over the country. In it, Krebaum himself called his potion a “free-gift-to-humanity type deal.”

I had a Siberian Husky, Dakota that seemed to attract a skunk into every backyard in every house in which I resided during my 10 years living in Los Angeles. This dog was carted to the vet or groomer every other month or so to get a double skunk bath. It was a nightmare and the de-skunking solution only seemed to get some of the smell out. If only I had known about this then. Fortunately, I have not had the need for it since moving to Kansas City, but I will keep this recipe handy because Murphy’s Law is very powerful and must be respected. Save this article somewhere because the minute you need it, you won’t be able to find it.

I suppose I can’t really suggest that everyone grateful to Paul Krebaum send him a few dollars to make up for the royalties he’ll never see from his miracle skunk concoction. Besides, I have no idea where one would send the money anyway. So maybe it would be nice if you save this article for some time in the future when you or someone you love might really need it, and when you do, say a few silent words of thanks to the man whose invention will get you out of one stinky predicament.

This de-skunking recipe was reprinted with permission from the inventor, Paul Krebaum.
A little about Paul Krebaum: Married, 3 children. Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Bennington College. Also attended Rensselear Polytechnic Institute for 2 years. Worked in the cosmetics field for a few years, then joined Molex, Inc. Received 4 patents at Molex, U.S. 5,036,249; 5,456.616; 5,952,446; and 6,265,519. It was while working on the first patent that the skunk remedy was invented. He stayed 15 years with Molex before starting his own consulting business, The Adhesive Doctor.

Copyright 2009, Paw Prints.


"Vicious" dog litigation outcome, Ohio Supreme Court: Youngstown v. Traylor

Youngstown v. Traylor, Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-4184

[Submitted May 19, 2009. Decided August 26, 2009.]

http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2009/2009-Ohio-4184.pdf (11 pages; 52.07 KB)

[Until this opinion appears in the Ohio Official Reports advance sheets, it may be cited as Youngstown v. Traylor, Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-4184.]


This slip opinion is subject to formal revision before it is published in an advance sheet of the Ohio Official Reports. Readers are requested to promptly notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of Ohio, 65 South Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, of any typographical or other formal errors in the opinion, in order that corrections may be made before the opinion is published.



[Until this opinion appears in the Ohio Official Reports advance sheets, it may be cited as Youngstown v. Traylor, Slip Opinion No. 2009-Ohio-4184.]

Criminal liability — Vicious dogs — Youngstown Codified Ordinances 505.19 is rationally related to the city’s legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs and therefore is constitutional — Conviction reinstated.

(No. 2008-1460 — Submitted May 19, 2009 — Decided August 26, 2009.)

APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Mahoning County, No. 07 MA 102, 2008-Ohio- 2971.


Youngstown Codified Ordinances 505.19 is rationally related to the city’s legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs and therefore is constitutional.


{¶ 1} Today we must decide whether a Youngstown ordinance that requires vicious dogs to be confined and requires the state to prove at trial that the SUPREME COURT OF OHIO dog is vicious or dangerous as an element of the offense violates procedural due process. Because we hold that the ordinance does not violate due process, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstate the conviction.


{¶ 2} On April 18, 2007, at 8:00 a.m., David Roch was walking his 16-pound wire fox terrier in Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio, when he was approached by two unaccompanied Italian Mastiff/Cane Corso dogs, one male and one female. The Mahoning County dog warden estimated the male dog to be about 170 to 180 pounds, and the female was slightly smaller.

{¶ 3} Roch restrained his dog and attempted to calm the larger dogs, which were becoming increasingly agitated. One of the dogs attacked Roch’s dog, and when Roch attempted to rescue his dog from the skirmish, Roch was attacked, sustaining an injury to his hand. Roch’s dog required surgery and stitches for injuries to her ear and head.

{¶ 4} After the attack, Roch’s dog, who had been taken off her leash, fled, and Roch sought shelter in the garage of Maureen Cronin, a neighbor who witnessed the attack. Cronin called Mill Creek Park Police Officer Carolyn Grimaldi, who arrived to find two dogs standing in Cronin’s driveway. Officer Grimaldi shot and killed one of the dogs as it ran toward her. The other dog fled, and a few minutes later, Youngstown Police Officer Matthew Willis spotted it. Officer Willis testified that when the dog saw him, it looked agitated and aggressive. When the dog fast approached him, Officer Willis shot and killed it.

{¶ 5} After a joint investigation involving the Mill Creek Park Police Department, the Youngstown Police Department, and the Mahoning County dog warden’s office, investigators learned that the owner of the dogs was Jammie Traylor, defendant-appellee. Traylor confirmed that he had two dogs that were missing, but when shown the remains of the dogs, he admitted owning only the female. Witnesses testified that they had seen Traylor with both dogs several weeks before the attack. Traylor admitted at his sentencing hearing that he owned the female and that the male had been present at his home for breeding purposes.

{¶ 6} Traylor was charged with two first-degree misdemeanors, violations under Youngstown Codified Ordinances (“YCO”) 505.19(b), entitled “Vicious Dogs.” Traylor filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that YCO 505.19 is unconstitutional. The trial court denied Traylor’s motion. A jury ultimately convicted Traylor on the lesser included offense to count one and of the offense as charged in count two. The trial court sentenced Traylor to 90 days in jail and ordered him to pay restitution to Roch, complete two years of intensive supervised probation upon his release, pay fines and costs, and own “nothing bigger than a Chihuahua” as a condition of his probation.

{¶ 7} The Mahoning County Court of Appeals vacated Traylor’s convictions and discharged him, holding that YCO 505.19 was unconstitutional. Youngstown v. Traylor, Mahoning App. No. 07MA102, 2008-Ohio-2971, 2008 WL 2441368. The city appealed, and this court accepted jurisdiction. Youngstown v. Traylor, 120 Ohio St.3d 1415, 2008-Ohio-6166, 897 N.E.2d 651.

{¶ 8} The issue before this court is whether YCO 505.19 violates procedural due process by failing to give notice to a dog owner that his dog will be considered vicious for purposes of criminal prosecution and/or by failing to allow the owner a meaningful opportunity to be heard on his dog’s classification as vicious. The right to procedural due process is found in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 16, Article I of the Ohio Constitution. State v. Hayden, 96 Ohio St.3d 211, 2002-Ohio-4169, 773 N.E.2d 502, ¶ 6. “Although the concept is flexible, at its core, procedural due process under both the Ohio and United States Constitutions requires, at a minimum, an opportunity to be heard when the state seeks to infringe a protected liberty or property right.” State v. Cowan, 103 Ohio St.3d 144, 2004-Ohio-4777, SUPREME COURT OF OHIO 814 N.E.2d 846, ¶ 8, citing Boddie v. Connecticut (1971), 401 U.S. 371, 377, 91 S.Ct. 780, 28 L.Ed.2d 113.

{¶ 9} Although dogs are “private property to a qualified extent, they are subject to the state police power, and ‘might be destroyed or otherwise dealt with, as in the judgment of the legislature is necessary for the protection of its citizens. * * * [L]egislatures have broad police power to regulate all dogs so as to protect the public against the nuisance posed by a vicious dog.’ ” State v. Anderson (1991), 57 Ohio St.3d 168, 170, 566 N.E.2d 1224, quoting Sentell v. New Orleans & Carrollton RR. Co. (1897), 166 U.S. 698, 701-704, 17 S.Ct. 693, 41 L.Ed. 1169. Thus, in this case, as in other animal control cases, we are balancing the state’s interest in protecting its citizens from vicious animals with the dog owner’s due process rights.

{¶ 10} The text of the ordinance at issue is as follows:

{¶ 11} “YCO 505.19 Vicious Dogs.

{¶ 12} “(a) No person owning or harboring or having the care of a vicious dog shall suffer or permit such animal to go unconfined on the premises of such person.

{¶ 13} “(b) No person owning or harboring or having the care of a vicious dog shall suffer or permit such dog to go beyond the premises of such person unless such dog is securely leashed or otherwise securely restrained.

{¶ 14} “(c) Definitions.

{¶ 15} “(1) A vicious dog is ‘unconfined’ as the term is used in this section, if such dog is not restrained by a secure fence, other secure enclosure or any other security device which effectively prevents such dog from going beyond the premises of the person described in subsection (a) hereof.

{¶ 16} “(2) ‘Vicious dog’ as used in this section means:

{¶ 17} “A. Any dog with a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury to or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or other domestic animals; and

{¶ 18} “B. Any dog which attacks a human being or another domestic animal without provocation.

{¶ 19} “(d) Subsections (a) and (b) hereof are necessary controls on the unrestrained activity of vicious animals which threaten the safety and pleasantness of streets, parks, sidewalks, yards and all areas of the City and lack of knowledge or lack of intent is not a defense to a violation thereof.”

{¶ 20} In examining the constitutionality of an ordinance, we look to two recent vicious dog cases. In Cowan, 103 Ohio St.3d 144, 2004-Ohio-4777, 814 N.E.2d 846, this court examined whether R.C. 955.22, a state statute requiring confinement of dangerous or vicious dogs, violated procedural due process. We held that the statute was unconstitutional because it failed to provide the dog owner with a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the dog’s classification and labeled dogs dangerous or vicious because of their breed only. Id. at ¶ 13. Once the dog warden had made the unilateral decision to classify Cowan’s dogs as vicious, R.C. 955.22 placed restrictions and requirements on Cowan and her dogs, such as purchasing liability insurance, without the right to an appeal or an administrative hearing. Id.

{¶ 21} Traylor relied on Cowan to support his position that YCO 505.19 is unconstitutional. However, as the trial court held, Traylor was charged under the vicious dog ordinance not because of the breed of his dogs, but rather, because his dogs had allegedly attacked a human and/or another domestic animal without provocation, as prohibited by YCO 505.19(c)(2)B. Here, the trial court concluded that there was no presumption that the dogs were vicious; rather, their viciousness was an element of the crime that the state had the burden of proving — i.e., that the dogs had attacked a human being or another domestic animal without provocation. Thus, the trial court found that the facts in this case separated it from the analysis in Cowan.

{¶ 22} Between the trial court’s ruling and the court of appeals’ decision in this case, we decided Toledo v. Tellings, 114 Ohio St.3d 278, 2007-Ohio-3724, 871 N.E.2d 1152, in which we considered a Toledo Municipal Code section as well as two state statutes, R.C. 955.11 and 955.22. The code section limited ownership of vicious dogs, as defined in R.C. 955.11, or dogs commonly known as pit bulls or pit bull mixed breeds, to one in each household, and the Revised Code required an owner of a pit bull to obtain liability insurance for damages, injuries, or death that might be caused by the dog. Id. at ¶ 2.

{¶ 23} In upholding the three provisions, this court concluded that the state and the city of Toledo possess the constitutional authority to exercise police powers that are rationally related to a legitimate interest in public health, safety, morals, or general welfare. We determined that the evidence proved that pit bulls cause more damage than other dogs when they attack, cause more fatalities in Ohio than other dogs, and cause Toledo police officers to fire their weapons more often than do other breeds. Thus, we held that the state of Ohio and the city of Toledo had a legitimate interest in protecting citizens from the dangers associated with pit bulls and that R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii) and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are rationally related to that interest. Therefore, these provisions are constitutional. Id. at ¶ 35.

{¶ 24} The court of appeals held that Tellings was inapplicable to this case because the case at bar does not involve pit bulls and because YCO 505.19 does not contain a classification of this breed as a definition of “vicious.” Youngstown v. Traylor, 2008-Ohio-2971, ¶ 27. Rather, the court of appeals found the facts of Cowan to be “virtually identical” to those in this case. Id. at ¶ 14. Thus, the court of appeals held that YCO 505.19 violated procedural due process because of the “imposition of additional legal duties and restrictions on the dog owner.” Id. at ¶ 23. We disagree.

{¶ 25} In holding that R.C. 955.22 was not unconstitutional as applied to owners of pit bulls in Tellings, we clarified that in Cowan, it was the unilateral classification of the dogs as vicious by a state actor that trampled the defendant’s due process rights by failing to give him notice and opportunity to be heard. Tellings, 114 Ohio St.3d 278, 2007-Ohio-3724, 871 N.E.2d 1152, ¶ 32. YCO 505.19 simply shifts the risk of dog ownership to the dog owner in order to protect the public. 1

{¶ 26} As for the opportunity to be heard, YCO 505.19 does not permit any unilateral, unreviewable, precharge determination by a state actor, unlike the statute involved in Cowan. Moreover, YCO 505.19 does not create prehearing burdens on dog owners, such as requiring liability insurance for particular breeds. In Cowan, we rejected the owner’s inability to challenge the vicious label until trial. However, YCO 505.19 does not classify or label dogs as vicious. Dogs are rendered vicious under the ordinance by their propensity to attack or by their attack, and dog owners are merely required to keep such dogs confined.

{¶ 27} Traylor’s dogs were alleged to be vicious in his criminal complaint, and Traylor was given an opportunity for meaningful review in front of the trial court. Notably, Traylor did not present any evidence regarding the temperament or disposition of his unlicensed dogs at the hearing on the motion to dismiss. YCO 505.19 does not place any responsibilities on the dog owner until the state proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, YCO 505.19 simply requires dog owners to keep their dogs on their property.

1. Between 4.5 and 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year. American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA”), Dog Bite Prevention,
http://www.avma.org/public_health/dogbite/ ; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dog Bite Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Dog-Bites/biteprevention.html According to the AVMA, almost 900,000 people require medical attention for dog-bite-related injuries each year.

{¶ 28} The Tenth District Court of Appeals considered a similar case in which a German Shepherd had attacked a dog on a leash, and the owner was charged under a local ordinance. State v. Conte (Nov. 6, 2007), 10th Dist. No. 07AP-33, 2007-Ohio-5924. The court made two observations that are applicable in this case: first, the city ordinance in Conte did not involve an “unreviewable, unilateral determination that the animal was ‘vicious or dangerous.’ Rather, [the state] must prove at trial that appellee’s dog is vicious or dangerous as an element of the offense. [The owner] has the opportunity to contest that allegation.” Id. at ¶ 15. Second, the city ordinance “does not impose any additional obligations on a dog owner.” Id. at ¶ 17.


{¶ 29} Traylor’s dogs, unprovoked, attacked Roch and his dog while the dogs were off their property. Traylor argues that an owner cannot know that his dog is vicious until he is convicted under the ordinance. To hold otherwise, however, is to permit each dog “one free bite,” a result that would clearly leave society at risk. A responsibility of dog ownership is to maintain and control the animal. This ordinance requires no more and no less, and, therefore, it does not violate procedural due process.

{¶ 30} We hold that Youngstown Codified Ordinances 505.19 is rationally related to the city’s legitimate interest in protecting citizens from vicious dogs and therefore is constitutional. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstate the convictions. Judgment reversed.

MOYER, C.J., and O’CONNOR, O’DONNELL, and CUPP, JJ., concur.

PFEIFER and LANZINGER, JJ., dissent.

PFEIFER, J., dissenting.

{¶ 31} In State v. Cowan, 103 Ohio St.3d 144, 2004-Ohio-4777, 814 N.E.2d 846, at syllabus, we stated that R.C. 955.22, the statute addressing “vicious” dogs, “violates the constitutional right to procedural due process insofar as it fails to provide dog owners a meaningful opportunity to be heard on the issue of whether a dog is ‘vicious.’ ” This conclusion answers the issue before us. Traylor was charged with not restraining a “vicious” dog, but he had no notice that his dog was “vicious.” In Cowan, the dog owner was aware that her dogs had been labeled vicious; she had merely not been given an opportunity to challenge that determination. Id. at ¶ 15. This case is even more egregious because Traylor not only doesn’t have an opportunity to challenge the “vicious” label, he had no way to know that his dog is “vicious.”

{¶ 32} The outcome of this case is morally repugnant. The owner of a dog is being sent to jail for 90 days based on his failure to do something he could not know he was supposed to do. “Vicious” dogs must be restrained. Youngstown Codified Ordinances (“YCO”) 505.19. But Traylor’s dog was not “vicious” until the moment it bit a human, at which point it was too late for Traylor to restrain his dog. YCO 505.19 imposes obligations on dog owners that they do not know they need to comply with until they have no opportunity to comply. The most troubling part of this case isn’t that a municipality would pass such an ordinance; it’s that this court is sanctioning it. See State v. Price, 118 Ohio St.3d 144, 2008-Ohio-1974, 886 N.E.2d 852, at ¶ 38 (“[defendant] is owed what every criminal defendant is owed: notice that his conduct is illegal”).

{¶ 33} This court is turning a blind eye to basic tenets of fundamental fairness. See R.C. 2901.21(A)(1) (a “person’s [criminal] liability is based on conduct that includes either a voluntary act, or an omission to perform an act or duty that the person is capable of performing”). Traylor was not capable of restraining his “vicious” dog until he knew it was vicious. Allowing Youngstown to impose criminal liability based on a contemporaneous labeling of a dog as “vicious” is not different from imposing criminal liability on an “accident-prone” driver and defining “accident-prone” as anyone who gets in a car accident. It just doesn’t make sense. And it’s unconstitutional. See Papachristou v. Jacksonville (1972), 405 U.S. 156, 162, 92 S.Ct. 839, 31 L.Ed.2d 110, quoting United States v. Harriss (1954), 347 U.S. 612, 617, 74 S.Ct. 808, 98 L.Ed. 989 (an ordinance violates due process when it “ ‘fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden by statute’ ”).

{¶ 34} Furthermore, Youngstown should not be able to define what constitutes a “vicious” dog because the General Assembly has already done so. R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a). The parties did not address this issue, and the record is not fully developed, so it is difficult to determine whether YCO 505.19 would survive a home-rule analysis. See Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Inc. v. Clyde, 120 Ohio St.3d 96, 2008-Ohio-4605, 896 N.E.2d 967, ¶ 24. Based on what the record does reveal, it seems likely that YCO 505.19 would not survive. YCO 505.19 is an exercise of local self government. Id. at. ¶ 23. But Chapter 955 of the Revised Code appears to be a general law, and R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a) and YCO 505.19(c)(2) are clearly in conflict. See Clyde at ¶ 25. Pursuant to this, admittedly cursory, analysis, R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a) would prevail over YCO 505.19(c)(2).

{¶ 35} This court did not engage in a home-rule analysis, in large part because the parties did not argue the issue. By avoiding that issue, however, this court is sanctioning the imposition of criminal liability for something that the General Assembly has determined is not a crime. According to R.C. 955.22, the owner of a dog cannot be criminally liable for acts of that dog unless the dog has already been determined to be “vicious.” Unlike YCO 505.19, R.C. 955.22 and related statutes do not allow a dog to be labeled vicious and its owner to be criminally liable based on the same act.

Supreme Court of Ohio, January Term, 2009

http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2009/2009-Ohio-4184.pdf (11 pages; 52.07 KB)